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Just wondering if there are any Coast Guard Pilots on here. I am currently a college student and am only a few hours away from my CPL (got my PPL last year).  I want to join one of the branches of the military and I believe the Coast Guard is for me.  My plan is to graduate with my BS in Criminal Justice and attended Officer Candidate School.  My grades are are great (3.9), my health and visions are great, my record is clean, and I have all the desire in the world to assist and protect my country through aviation. I was just wondering if there are any pilots in here that I could talk to who have gone through OCS or are currently active.  If anyone is a member of HITRON, if would be great to talk to you to.

 

Thanks much!

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Great Career choice. I went through CG OSC in the 90's (back well before it was intgrated into DHS). OK, things to think about...sorry if things are a little disorganized-

 

It was (and still is) a very competitive process to get selected, both for Enlisted, and especially for Officer country. Upon entering OCS, some stats were given; at reporting time, it was something in the order of 5300 applicants for each OCS slot, and they averaged 2.4 years from the initial application to selection. Get great references that are common people who can vouch for you - not your local congressional rep. Be prepared for an Officer Interview Board, and understand what the current missions are and what ROLES you would be able to serve (think leadership and anywhere doing anything). I would not press the aviation too hard, as the OIB will be looking at filling the OCS slots only, an believe me, they want candidates who are intelligent, think clearly and DECIDE quickly, are very disciplined and LEAD. Once out of OCS, be prepared for any assignment such as a boarding officer, admin, maritime LE,... anything but aviation, because it is possible and they will not guarantee flight slots. Bone up on the missions and visit nearby stations and try to get a copy of the OCS pre-reporting guide.

 

OK, OCS: OCS was an 'interesting' time, and you rapidly develop lifelong relationships with classmates (and your platoon Officers/instructors) through academic and duty sections. Lots of drilling at first, then gets fun with academics and real shipboard duty. You will learn to lead and command. Lots to do, little time to get it done...be efficient and get the answer right the first time (i.e., NO EXCUSES, SIR/MA'AM). The OCS clock is much different than civilian - get to understand the schedule. Get into good physical shape, and be able to swim and run. Bottom line, focus on getting through OCS, then flight school. Two totally different entities and keep your career path cards close.

 

Going a little quickly, once through OCS, flight school is a seperate process  (a nice medical screening and testing early in OCS for interested applicants). There have been more flight slots available, but it fluctuates every year and with budgets. Once through flight school, you will be an Officer first, pilot second, with A LOT of collateral duties as a junior officer at whatever unit gets you, on top of primary duties. On average (back a few years ago), a Aircraft Commader/PIC was getting ~15 hours/month flight time. Be prepared for movement around the country around every 2-3 years. As for deployment, you can expect some fairly lengthy shipboard time early on and as you become senior with time. The boats can run from many 3-week turns (CGAS Clearwater) to several months (Pacific/D11 deployments), but it isn't anything like naval deployment on cruisers or carriers. Hope some of this will help in your decisions.

 

Anyways, A lot more I could throw your way, but for now...

 

-WATCH FOR THE WIRES-

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Hey Zach,

I'm also working my way to USCG flight -- hopefully. If you are totally set on aviation you might also look at the Blue 21 Guaranteed Flight Initiative. It's basically an entry program to OCS that puts you straight into flight school afterwards - what's the catch, you ask?

Your BS degree must be in: aviation, engineering, computers, or technology AND it must be from a college that has a 25% or more minority pop. based on US resident students. I get the impression that they will give some leeway on the degree (I would guess Criminal Justice would go great with the USCG mission) from talking with recruiters, but they won't give any leeway on the 25% demographics.

It sounds like you are still young and have plenty of options to get into USCG OCS. I'm 29 next week and the cutoff age for all the OCS programs is 25, except Blue 21 which is 31, but I need to do some school work over the next year to make myself eligible.

Good luck and let me know how things go for you and I will do the same. You can always find me here at VR.

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Yeh, I've looked into Blue21, but it won't happen for me. My school is only 1% minority.  Even U of Pittsburgh, where i last attended school wasn't 25%! I'm confident in myself though, have equal interest in the coast guard's mission and flight (so i'd be honored to be one of their officers, even if i wasn't a pilot), and I've made friends with a few CG officers that can hopefully give me advice along the way, and back me up through the admissions.

 

Thanks much for the input guys!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Helizach,

 

I'm also a CG Pilot that attended OCS in the early 90's. I recommend completing all your flight school application requirements prior to attending OCS. These would be the flight physical and flight school tests (it used to be FAR or something like that but I think it has changed names). These tests can be conducted prior to OCS. Those that don't, have to take them while at OCS - not the best time to do well on a test. I don't think there is anything wrong with letting the board know you're interested in flight school. However, make sure you let them know you want to be an officer first and if you get to fly that's just a bonus. My experience is that most of the folks that want to fly (and are qualified) will eventually be selected for flight school. This is one area where persistance pays off. It may take years to get there but if you keep applying and are doing a good job as a JO, you can get it. Good Luck.

 

So you're at Pitt? I went down the street to a smaller school (CMU).

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  • 3 months later...

I'm 21, about to graduate and considering the Blue 21 program, i'm going to talk with a recruiter tomorrow and i'll post what I hear (I have a political science degree, but from what I read, if you have a pilots license and a degree it doesn't matter what the degree is as long as its from an accredited university). My school is 29% minority, so I have that requirement out of the way, and I guess we'll see what happens.

Chris

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yes, if you get to fly its 11 years, but I figure i'll only be 32. Anyway the recruiters were not helpful at all, I had to explain to them that I was eligible and how it worked.... so i've emailed the blue 21 coordinator, i'll update when i get a reply. Evidently the last deadline was feb 10th, so it will probably be awhile till the next round.

Chris

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I had the same problem when I was looking into it. None of the three CG recruiting offices around me knew what I was talking about. I have a friend at the CG Academy that hooked me up with some knowledgeable people and I was able to get info that way.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I'm also looking into the Coast Guard's Blue 21 program and have run into the exact same situation with my local recruiters not fully aware of the program. They gave the e-mail address to LTJG Youde as the coordinator but he has not written me back. Could anyone pass along some good contact info for a Blue 21 program point of contact? Thanks for your help!!

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  • 3 months later...

^ The coordinator position personnel flips over pretty regularly. Best way to reach the right person is to hit the "Blue 21 Program Coordinator" link on this page.

http://www.gocoastguard.com/dc/dcprograms/blue21.htm

 

There seems to be a lot of "confusion" out there among recruiters about this program. I think it's all smoke to get people into other commissioning routes and avoid the guaranteed flight. <_ this is a test of wills and if you really want it do not take no for an answer direct the recruiter to his own service website reference education onthe matter. i.e. link above>

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